Mark

October 25, 2013

Back Foot on Forehands

I began to write a blog entry about how the back foot positioning on forehands has evolved at the higher levels from being back to mostly being parallel to the table in the modern game, where it's not just power, but speed of power that's paramount - and so there's no time to bring that foot back. Then I realized it should be a Tip of the Week for Monday.

South Shore Open

I'm off to the 4-star South Shore Open in Indiana right after lunch today, where I'll be coaching MDTTC juniors Nathan Hsu, Derek Nie, and Crystal Wang. (Also going from MDTTC: Roy Ke, along with coach/practice partner Dong "Steve" Yiming.) There are 214 players entered. I've got my coaching notes printed out, a list of things to bring (I pack right after I finish the blog), and I think the kids are ready. There's a lot of prize money in the Wasserman junior events! But as far as we're concerned, it's just another day of matches at the club. Right?

USATT Tips of the Day

USATT is still going through the 171 Tips of the Week I wrote for them from 1999-2003, putting one up each day. Here are the Tips they've put up. Below are the Tips from the past seven days.

USATT Email Vote

Here's the minutes of the USATT Oct. 23 email vote, where they voted on a number of rule changes. I believe they are just matching new ITTF rules, as the very first item changes the USATT rules to match the current (new?) ITTF rules.

I'm a bit surprised by the first rule change - I don't think they saw the implication. Below is the new rule. The four words crossed out ("as close as possible") were part of the old rule; the words in bold italics ("attached" and "from top to bottom") are new wording:

2.2.4 The bottom of the net, along its whole length, shall be as close as possible to the playing surface and the ends of the net shall be as close as possible attached to the supporting posts from top to bottom.

Here's the problem. With the new wording, there's no requirement that the net actually goes out to the net posts, which go six inches (15.25 cm) outside the table. (Rule 2.2.2: "The net shall be suspended by a cord attached at each end to an upright post 15.25cm high, the outside limits of the post being 15.25cm outside the side line.") This is to keep players from regularly making unreturnable shots around the net, as players like Istvan Jonyer did regularly in the 1970s before they made the rule that the net (or at least the posts, with the net "as close as possible," or similar wording at the time) go six inches outside the table.

So you can have a net that only goes to the edge of the table, attached to the outside posts by, say, a piece of string. And so players can easily hit shots between the net and the net post. It wouldn't be a legal shot, but do we really want to allow that huge gap there? Besides making it trickier to call some shots ("Did that go inside or outside the net post?"), it would look bad. Why not keep the "as close as possible" wording from before?

Men's World Cup

Here are some nice action shots from the Men's World Cup, which started today in Belgium.

Ma Long Multiball

Here's a video of world #1 Ma Long (40 sec) doing multiball. It's a two-shot drill: a random backspin followed by a random topspin. (Note the other player picking up balls by hand - what is this, 1980? We have nets and other ball pickup devices for that now!)

Table Tennis in Enchanted Forest on Floating Table by Woman in Wedding Dress Weighed Down by a Paddle

Okay, that's my name for Mike Mezyan's latest artwork, which he calls "Once Upon a Table," and describes: "She Had TT Dreams...She Had TT Hopes...A Table in an Enchanted Forest Understands Her...It Knows What She Wants..It Floats Gently Carrying Her Fueled By Her Aspiration And Determination...Her Table Was Her Palace...Her Racket Was Her Prince Charming...Her Story Has Just Begun..."

About Time

Here are some table tennis pictures from the upcoming feature movie About Time, which comes out Nov. 8. Apparently there are a lot of table tennis scenes in this SF movie, which looks like my kind of movie - TT & SF! Here's the description from IMBD: "At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think."

Basketpong

Here's the video (2:13)! And here's another (2:54)!

The 2014 Nationals Are Booked by Mark - Be Very Afraid

Here's a hilarious posting by Mark ("mjamja") at the about.com forum that refers to my Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers book. I wanted to post it in its entirety here, but wasn't able to reach the author. So here's the first paragraph (the best one!); follow the link above for the rest.

Any of you who plan to play in the 2014 US Nationals in any rating event between U1600 and U2100 should be very afraid. I have ordered Larry Hodge's "Table Tennis Tactics," Richard McAfee's "Table Tennis Steps to Success," and Alex Polyakov's "Breaking 2000."   I plan on a total table tennis immersion approach using these wells of knowledge as my guide and devoting myself to real training for the next year.

Non-Table Tennis - "Rationalized"

Here's the cover of Star Quake 1, a compilation of the best stories they published in 2012. I'm on the cover with my featured dystopian SF story, "Rationalized" (yep, it's free online), which won the 2011 Story Quest Short Story Competition. (It's the 14th time I've been on the cover of a SF magazine.) It's about a future society where everyone has an operation on their brain at age 13 to remove all emotions, and the underground society that secretly avoids this operation, but must pretend to always be unemotional - and the lengths they must go to hide their secret when a terrible accident occurs. "The writing is solid and for a story about lack of emotion, it packs an emotional punch" wrote blogger Mark Webb.

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